Along the Western Front

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Christmas Eve, 103 years ago tonight,
the world burns burns burns like
the furnace it is, but a hard freeze
sets in after an agonizing week
of wind & rain 
along the Western Front.

Tired and ragged soldiers on both sides
of a senseless, brutal war
emerge, with hands up,
from the trenches
harmonizing Silent Night
in unison
as the snow begins to fall.

For just a few hours, these war-torn
adversaries come together
as allies, as friends, as brothers.

They defy the rules of war,
ignore commands from generals
and politicians, and chisel out
their own peace. A peace not granted
by their masters. Two enemies, together,
under a bleak sky in fields of blood and bones,
laugh and sip whiskey and smoke cigars,
while sharing gifts as the grey dawn
gives way to the bloodshed again.

But for one night, just one night, these
young soldiers escaped the cage of honor,
the hell of their undoing, and lowered
their guns, and their goddamn flags
and found brotherhood through truce.

Let every night be Christmas Eve night,
1914, along the Western Front.

 

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6 thoughts on “Along the Western Front

  1. davezart says:

    Eric, this is a wonderful post. It reminds us that while ideals, and leaders may be at odds with one another, we can still find the common ground. Even our enemies are human and deserve the dignity that other humans deserve. I also heard reports of a football game occurring on the western front between trenches too.
    I am at present doing research for my thesis on Australian Soldier poets of WWI. While your post is somewhat unrelated, I can just imagine the Aussie soldiers sharing a beer and a smoke with those in the opposing trenches.
    Dave

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